December 08, 1975
Sri Krishna C. Batra
Sri Aurobindo Ashram,
In reply to your letter dated 26 November 1975, I beg to submit herein that our International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a Bhakti yoga asram as it is enunciated in the Bhagavad-gita. The main purpose of the society is to understand the nature of God and our relationship with Him. The very word yoga means connecting link with the supreme being. We accept Krishna as the supreme being, and nobody is equal to him or greater than him. How he is supreme is lucidly explained in the Bhagavad-gita, and we try to revive our eternal relationship with him. In the Bhagavad-gita itself there are different processes of yoga systems, karma yoga, jnana yoga, dhayana yoga, hatha yoga, bhakti yoga and so many patterns of yoga. Others may practice different patterns of yoga, and we can understand that everyone is trying to pass on the path of yoga, but bhakti yoga is the ultimate goal, and if anyone is actually interested to understand God as he is, he has to come to the platform of bhakti yoga.
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that after many many births of practicing yoga, when one is actually mature he surrenders himself at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bahunam janmanam ante, jnanavan mam prapadyate, vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah (BG 7.19).
So this bhakti yoga is practiced by varieties of rendering service to the Lord, They are divided into nine prescribed methods as it is called sravanam, kirtanam visnoh, smaranam pada sevanam, arcanam vandanam dasyam, sakhyam atma nivedanam (SB 7.5.23). The actual path to understand God is bhakti yoga as it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati, yevan yas casmi tattvatah, tato mam tattvato jnatve, visate tad anantaram. (BG 18.55) "One can understand the Supreme Personality as he is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God." This bhakti yoga is identical with Krishna consciousness this is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, Yoginam api sarvesam, mad gatenanteratmana, sraddhavan bhajate yo mama, sa me yuktatamo matah. (BG 6.47) And of all yogis, he who always abides in me with great faith, worshiping me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with me in yoga and is the highest of all.
So we teach our students how to think of Krishna 24 hours and thus become devotees of Krishna. When one becomes a devotee he worships Krishna by the above nine varieties of bhakti processes and remain always an obedient servant of Krishna, and the vivid example is Arjuna, how he engaged himself on the battlefield of Kuruksetra although he was not willing to kill the enemies on the other side, although they happen to be very near and dear kinsmen of Arjuna.
The conclusion is, when one gives up his concocted ideas of perfection and takes to Krishna consciousness just to render service to the Lord by following his direct order this perfection is actually attained by a pure devotee, so much so that a pure devotee constantly engaged in the service of the Lord can get direct orders from the Lord, and then follow perfectly the instructions of the Lord.
Our society is open to everyone without any discrimination of cast, creed, color, sex, or position, anyone can join us and be trained up in Krishna consciousness. That is evidently proved that we have got more than 100 centers all over the world, including Africa, or other supposed backward countries. Everywhere the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is being chanted without any difficulty and all of them are becoming pure Vaisnavas. They are completely giving up the four principles of sinful activities, namely illicit sex life, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling, and thus they are making progress in the matter of understanding Krishna consciousness very perfectly.
The addresses of our India centers are listed as follows, ISKCON Bombay, Hare Krishna Land, Gandhi Gram Rd. Juhu 54. ISKCON Hyderabad, Hare Krishna Land, Nampally station Rd. Hyderabad. ISKCON Delhi, 19 Todar Mal Lane, Bengali Market, New Delhi. ISKCON Calcutta, 3 Albert Rd. Calcutta 17 (Near Hindi High School). ISKCON Mayapur, P.O. Sri Mayapur Dham, Mayapur District Nadia, West Bengal.
Just this month we have sent preachers to Ahmedabad and Kanpur for opening centers, and we are planning to build a gorgeous Krishna Arjuna temple at Kuruksetra in co-operation with the late home minister G.L. Nanada.
We have published more than 50 big books in the English language such as Bhagavad-gita as it is, Caitanya Caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and others. For a complete catalog of our publications write the secretary at New Delhi temple.
Thank you for your interest.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami